One year

Happy anniversary to me.  A year ago today, I had the hysterectomy that changed my life in so many ways.  I have an appointment with a new oncologist on Wednesday, but I expect that I will still be cancer free.  In the past year I have:

  1. Moved, twice.  Three times if you count the temporary stay with my parents in NH.
  2. Seen and done amazing things that I couldn’t have even dreamt about the year before.
  3. Started my own business.
  4. Put together a beautiful apartment that is entirely my own.  My tastes, no compromises.  And it’s clean and neat.
  5. Regained my sense of who I am.
  6. Regained my positive outlook on life.
  7. Auditioned for Jeopardy.
  8. Got divorced.
  9. Traveled, London twice, Amsterdam, Vancouver, and lots of domestic locales.
  10. Enjoyed the company and support of friends new and old.

I am so incredibly fortunate in life, and every day, I’m thankful I still have the opportunity to live it.

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Yesterday was rough.  I once read that every death is the same… just the first one, felt over and over again.  That’s definitely not the case for me.  Just as people are different, the way each death affects me is different.  We had such a rocky friendship, and I don’t mean that in the petty squabbles kind of way.  You were always kind and generous and attentive about the smallest things.  I was oblivious, but I think some of that came from my own self image.  I couldn’t fathom anyone being interested in me in any other way.  Your emails –the way you spoke really — were so long and involved, as if you knew you wouldn’t have the time to get everything out.  It was overwhelming, and giving into that youthful feeling of limitless time, I’d often put off reading it all until another day.

Reconnecting at the end, it was surprising when you told me you had Asperger’s, and processed things differently.  It was a light bulb, not a big one, just a small piece of understanding.  It gave more context to everything that had come before, from the time we first met, through all of those rough years.  I’m still not sure what you felt for me, or why.  I try to convince myself that it was just friendship — the same attention you extended everyone you came into contact with.   But I know it wasn’t, and the only thing that I can say for sure is that it was a long time ago.

Talking with you was always difficult after that point.  Your generosity, and your care, and your love reminded me what a shitty, shallow human being I am.  There were a lot of reasons I dismissed you, but the one that really sealed things in my mind was simple.  You could never fully understand my passion for music.  You couldn’t experience it.  It’s so shallow, and so unfair.  I’ll always feel guilty for feeling that way.  God knows you tried, and in a different situation, maybe all of those gestures would have changed my mind.

I’ve learned a lot about my faith over the past few years.  I was never quite sure that I had any, but I believe in energy.  Released from that imperfect, failing flesh, I know you’re experiencing all that you never could.  That vibration that fuels passion,  something the mortal body can only handle in small doses, is now yours infinitely.  And I think of you, smiling and shaking your head when you finally get to experience my shitty taste in music.

Good journeys, Dan.  I’ll catch you on the other side.

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In the center of it all

Despite living in the city for 8 or 9 months now, I don’t think I’ve taken advantage of it until tonight.  I was happily dragged out for drinks and dinner, and it has been a long time since I’ve been buzzed like that.  I came home and decided that I should go see a movie, since it’s 2 blocks away.  I got to a 10:20pm showing of Prometheus, and it was quite good. More importantly, I’m glad that I could decide at 9:45 to go see a movie and just pick up and go and have a good time.

Dinner was fantastic.  Great company, and really well done food.  Crab and artichoke dip, Copper River salmon with succotash and risotto croquettes, and a lemon meringue pie for dessert.  I had a cucumber drink with Hendrick’s  (clearly starting Thanksginning early this year!) and it was really good.  Lots of little tiny hearts for gin :)

Tomorrow I must clean the racks and drip tray from the smoker today.  I successfully brined some bone-in chicken breasts, and smoked them today.  They really only take about 2 to 2.5 hours, and they came out beautifully.  General house tidying is also on the agenda.  Off to sleep for me.

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Today I turned over the keys to a spotless and sparkling old place.  Although I outgrew the space and the neighborhood, I’ll still fondly remember it as my first home here.  Now I’m adjusting to having a single address again.  In a way, this place doesn’t feel quite like home; it’s far too nice, and way better than pretty much all of my previous residences.  But, it’s also fully and 100% me.  Everything in here is something I purchased, and something I wanted here.  No compromises.  No rolling over to bad taste just to avoid an argument.   Looking at it all together, I do actually have fantastic taste.  It’s a bold color palette but still warm and inviting… which I think also describes me as a person.

Some petty shit came to light last night having to do with the ex-husband.  I won’t bother detailing it, but suffice it to say, he’s certainly found his new level with his new girlfriend.  In the end, it’s all just another example of spin and immaturity.  I have reality on my side, so I can afford to stand silently with that truth while they play their little games.  It’s a bit audacious, but it’s far more pathetic than anything else.

In other news, progress is still being made on the business.  The whole upheaval of last month pushed some of the milestones back a bit, but I still think we’ll meet the goals ultimately.  I have a rather lengthy punchlist to knock off this week, so tomorrow will be spent gathering resources so I can hit the ground running (with my lousy string of business cliches).

I was also talking with a friend today about the transition and the change.  Some people believe there are only two states of being: in a relationship, or looking for a relationship.  These are the kinds of people who aren’t comfortable with themselves, and who must not think they have a lot to offer even themselves.  Coming out of the last relationship has been a monumental struggle.  In a lot of ways, it feels like the battle with anemia.  I was so sick, my hemoglobin so low, that I was on the verge of death.  Recovery was a slow process, but by adding in iron supplements and fixing some other deficiencies in my life, I was able to regain my glow.  Emotionally, the marriage, the relationship, bled me out.  I was as bad off emotionally and spiritually a year and a half ago as I was physically at the low point in the anemia struggle.  I realize that right now, I don’t want to be in a relationship because I shouldn’t be in a relationship.  I haven’t had the chance to fully build ME back up yet.  Once there’s a solid and healthy me, then I can think about finding a guy to be an us with.  In reality, and based on past experience, once I get to that point of a healthy me, then I won’t have to do much active looking.  When I’m whole, people are drawn to me.  The next time around though, I’ll be more careful in my choices, and make sure that the one drawn to my flame, also has a flame of his own burning brightly.

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We’re movin’ on up

It’s been an exciting couple of weeks.. er, I guess it’s only been a week and a half.  Last Wednesday, I flew to Chicago, and on Thursday, the very nice judge granted me a divorce… finally.  The ex and I got along rather well — in the end we had to just cut the lawyers out and do shit up ourselves, but it got done and that’s the important part.  After that, I completely figured out my business plan, and started putting that into action.  Saturday I met with a very talented friend who’s going into this business with me.  I laid out my business plan, explained why I wanted to work with her, and she was actually excited about it and thinks it will work.  YAY!

The first part of the week brought a lot of construction noise and unhappiness on my part.  I decided to escape the house on Thursday and get my nails done; pretty purple sparkles are enough to brighten anyone’s day.  After that I decided to walk over to the apartment building that I’d been stalking for the past 3 months or so, and have a look around.  It was around 4pm, and I toured the apartment with the floor plan I thought I wanted… but it wasn’t the magical one.  The leasing dude said, hey we have another model, let me show you that one.  And boom.  That was it.  Beautiful, walls of glass, lots of light… a great terrace.  He said wait until tonight, another tenant is in a unit with even more terrace, and they’re looking to move elsewhere in the building.   I went home, I compared the floor plans, and the prices, and decided I liked the one I’d seen earlier in the day.  Friday I went back to see it to make sure, and put the deposits down on it.  Monday I sign the final paperwork and get the keys.

Because of scheduling concerns, I figured I can try to get moved in by next Friday.  I found a place that rents plastic bins instead of cardboard boxes, placed an order for those and had them delivered yesterday afternoon.  I’ve been packing since then, and I have to say I think I’m going to meet my target.  Wow.

Once again, what I imagined something would be like — in this case, being done with the divorce — is completely different from the reality of it.  The good news is the reality is pretty rocking :)  I feel excited about life, and powerful, and god… just so fucking alive.

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I had some free time this afternoon, so I figured I’d watch the dvd that I’d had sitting around for the last week.  50/50  is a film about a 27 year old guy who gets cancer, and the title in one respect refers to the survival rate of his particular cancer.  Since my cancer survival rate is 90%, and since I didn’t need any chemo or radiation, a fair number of people think that I didn’t have “real” cancer.  Nine and a half months post surgery, sometimes I’m lulled into that kind of thinking as well; I’m fine now and I don’t give it much thought.

Parts of this movie touched off some memories and kind of overwhelmed me with emotion.  From the guy’s shitty girlfriend, to the chairs in the chemo room, these weren’t just scenes in a movie; they were places I’d been and pain I’d experienced.  It’s really been a rough few years, and my measure of how I’m doing has always been: “I’m still here.”  A lot of that strength comes via denial; I don’t think I’ve processed all that’s happened to me in that time, and I don’t know that I ever will get through all of it.

To me, 50/50 also refers to what’s been lost and gained in my life since the initial diagnosis.  Losing a shitty marriage to a selfish asshole of a husband; gaining independence and a sense of my self again.  I’m not sure I remember the exact date of diagnosis; it was either November 6th or 7th, 2008.   A biopsy had been done on the 4th, election day, and my doctor called me in the evening a few days later.  She said she didn’t want to do it over the phone, but she wouldn’t be in the next day and she didn’t want me to wait all weekend.  Facing one’s mortality at 36 going on 37 is rough enough, but also facing the loss of fertility without having any kids… it shatters whatever came before that moment.

50/50 is also a bisection, and I’m looking forward to living out the next 50.  It’s a chance to find happiness again under different terms this time.  Hopefully I can make things work better than they did the first time around.  A side note for anyone following along at home: STILL not divorced.  Maybe next week… sigh.

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slowing down to speed up

A bit of a lazy day today, but Allyson is visiting again, yay!  Yesterday we did a lot of walking and exploring.  Points of interest included Lunchbox Laboratory for lunchies, a tour of an apartment I’m interested in, discovery of a new and potentially permanent mani/pedi salon, a Top Pot doughnut, a mosey through Whole Foods and a leisurely walk home.  Lots of fun to be had, and it’s been absolutely beautiful weather here this week.  Today it was even nicer, but I seem to either be coming down with something or I’m getting smacked with allergies.  Things are vaguely starting to bloom, or perhaps the demolition across the street is releasing some mold spores.  Either way, I’ve been getting congested in the evenings and I’ve been battling sinus headaches throughout the days.  Meh!

Tomorrow we’re going to go see Adam Carolla perform at the Moore Theatre.  I think it will be fun overall, though I can’t really think of what the show might entail.  Saturday we will either hit the SAM or go see a movie.   Allyson heads back up to Vancouver on Monday morning.

I’m still waiting to hear back on the divorce proceedings.  Theoretically we’re now in agreement on the settlement, but all of the paperwork needs to be reviewed.  Then we need to pick a date to go to court and get everything finalized.  I’ll fly back out to Chicago, take care of that, and probably stay a few days longer to tie up some loose ends.  I have been making lists of places I need to change my name, and printing out forms to make those changes.

Now that we’re into March, I’m starting to see the Seattle weather I fell in love with so many years ago.  When we first visited the Redmond/Seattle area in May of 2005, the weather was very Northern California.  Mostly sunny, dry, and temperate.  The weather has been mostly good since the “snow events” of mid-January.  Some rain, but nothing horrible.  It will be nice to get outside again and really just hang out and explore all that the city has to offer.

On the what am I going to do with my life front, I’m continuing to work on business plans for my food/baking business.  I have a lot of ideas, and I’m getting them down on paper to see which ones make the most sense.   Once the divorce is complete, I will take a little bit of time off to travel, but after that I want to come back and start in on the rest of my life.

There were so many times in the past year and a half when I questioned if I was making the right moves.  I can honestly say that my only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.  Sometimes I spend far too much time holding on to something that won’t work, wishing and hoping and praying that somehow a miracle will happen, and things will change and life will be lovely.  The only miracle that happened was I regained the trust in myself and my instincts.  You can correct most mistakes (except for the ones that result in fatalities :), not undo them, but correct them.  Having said that, I’m in a good place with regards to the marriage and the ending of it.  There were good times, there were bad times, there were indifferent times.  All of this has contributed to the person that I am today.  I am the product of my experiences.

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